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Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Smyrna, Ottoman Empire [now Izmir, Turkey]
Died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France  (bronchial pneumonia)
Birth NameAristotle Socrates Onassis
Nickname Ari

Mini Bio (1)

Aristole Onassis was an ethnic Greek born in Smyrna in the Ottoman Empire in what is now Turkey, who became a billionaire shipping tycoon when the number of billionaires could be counted on one hand. He is known to history as the second husband of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

He was the son of Socrates Onassis, a ship owner with a modest fleet of 10 ships manned by 40 sailors. The relative wealth of his father got the young Ari a good education, and he became fluent in English, Spanish and Turkish. In the aftermath of World War One, when the Ottoman Empire was broken up by the victorious Allies and modern Turkey was created by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, many ethnic Greeks were expelled from the new country. The Onassis family fled to Greece as refugees.

Aristotle Onassis emigrated to Argentina in 1923 with 60 dollars (approximately $800 in 2011 dollars, when factored for inflation). He became an importer of Turkish tobacco and eventually became an owner of ships. Eventually, he held Argentine and Greek passports and dual citizenship.

Onassis switched to transporting oil for the major petroleum companies, who could save money by not owning their own fleets. It was the introduction of the supertanker to transport Middle Eastern oil that made Onassis one of the richest men in the world. A supertanker could be paid for with one six-month lease, meaning that the majority of the 20-year life-span of a tanker could result in extraordinary profits. Onassis invested his vast fortune wisely, including in the petroleum industry itself, transportation, and other businesses.

Outside of the business world, Aristole Onassis was little known, and if he was known at all, it was for his romance with the opera singer Maria Callas. However, his 1968 marriage to the widow of the late President John F. Kennedy made him a world-wide figure whose life was chronicled in newspapers around the globe.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (2)

Jacqueline Kennedy (20 October 1968 - 15 March 1975) (his death)
Athina Livanos (28 December 1946 - 1960) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (10)

Grandfather of Athina Onassis Roussel.
After her divorce from Onassis, Athina married John Spencer-Churchill. After their divorce, she married her sister's widower - Onassis's arch shipping rival - Stavros Niarchos. She was the daughter of another Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Livanos.
Children: Alexander Socrates (April 30, 1948 - January 23, 1973) and Christina Onassis.
Ended his affair with opera diva Maria Callas to marry Jacqueline Kennedy.
Founder (1956) of Olympic Airways of Greece.
In 1954, the FBI investigated Onassis for Fraud Against the Government. He was charged with violating the citizenship provision of the shipping laws which requires that all ships displaying the American flag be owned by United States citizens. Onassis pled guilty and paid $7 million to the United States Government.
According to "Greek Fire: The Story Of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis" by Nicholas Gage, Callas's and Onassis's child, a boy, was born and died on 30 March 1960.
Portrayed by Frank Vincent, Raul Julia, Joss Ackland, Thom Christopher, Robert Lindsay, and Philip Baker Hall. Anthony Quinn played a character based on Onassis in The Greek Tycoon (1978).
Partnered with Arthur G. Cohen to build Olympic Tower (1971), 51-story a residential/commercial building across from St. Patrick's Cathedral (New York City).
Hergé's Tintin book "Flight 714" depicts a tycoon named Laszlo Carreidas. In one scene, Carreidas is talking on the phone to an associate in New York who is attending an auction. When Carreidas hears that Onassis is trying to buy some paintings, he instantly orders the associate to buy the paintings, no matter the cost.

Personal Quotes (3)

To succeed in business it is necessary to make others see things as you see them.
If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.
The secret of business is to know something nobody else knows.

See also

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